A visitor bearing gifts

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It has been a long time since I posted a picture of either myself or Jack on the blog…so here we are sending you so much love today!

Several days ago, I found out that someone close to me had betrayed me in a way that quite literally sent me into shock. For hours, my body shook and my heart felt like it would explode. Later that same night, as I tried to sleep but found it impossible…thoughts about the hurtful event felt like spears being shot into my brain and I didn’t think that I could stop them. Feelings of anger and confusion made sleep, the one thing that I thought might bring some temporary relief, impossible.

I tried to say, “This is happening for me, not to me”, but it felt empty and pitiful compared to my feelings…it felt like utter bullshit.

At about 2 a.m. as I lie there in my cocoon of hell, the word, “kindness” came into my mind. I kept repeating it and as I did, I became aware that the angry thoughts, and the reliving of the betrayal, were such unkind things to do to myself. They felt like daggers, because they were just that….and I was doing this to myself.

So I started repeating,

“Be kind to yourself. Think kind thoughts, or no thoughts. This is so hard but don’t become hard. Become soft, stay kind. Let this open you up to more love, life, and goodness. Don’t close down. Don’t become hard.” The sense of relief that I experienced was small and I felt powerless as I was then overwhelmed with sadness instead of rage, but I knew that deep sadness was appropriate and that anger was a cover up.

In the past, anger had been a default emotion for me. I thought that I was in control (or it felt that way) if I was angry…but sadness? Sadness was frightening. Sadness seemed like it would render me useless, pitiful, and unable to move. Anger felt like it contained within it the energy to change and so I had been reluctant to turn away from what felt like an old ally. But I had the awareness that the sleeplessness and sadness were working something in me…similar to the feelings that I’d experience on a vision quest many years earlier. I was in a new place and I needed to trust it, even though it felt awful.

Sleep still did not come and so at 5 a.m. I got up, made a cup of tea,  went outside, and asked to see my part in the betrayal. I could not have asked that question 12 hrs. earlier, and if anyone had said, “So how did you bring this into your life? Or “How did you attract this?” (both legitimate and good questions which I know to be the truth), I would’ve become enraged and probably shot back, “How dare you insinuate that I had any part in this?”

But I was ready to ask myself, and within minutes an answer came; I saw how for several years I’d had so many negative and unfriendly thoughts about this man and in that moment, my heart opened and I sobbed uncontrollably. There was no blame of him or myself; there was only the space that an epiphany creates. There was room for something new to emerge and I sensed that it would heal me in a way that I could never do by trying to change myself. It was Grace…my part in it was simply to stay open (simple but certainly not easy).

We all know people who have been so hurt by others that they shut themselves off from life. They become hard and closed-down in an effort to shield themselves from the inevitable pain that happens as we live these human lives. There is going to be pain. There are going to be betrayals, or what we believe in the moment are betrayals. There is going to be loss or the feeling that we have lost something/someone, but what we do in these moments, holds the key to our freedom and happiness. One of my favorite quotes by W. Clement Stone is, “Big doors swing on little hinges”. Deciding to refuse anger and blame and ask what my part was seemed small at the time.

During the experience that I just went through, I could see these 2 paths clearly and I knew that the old way for me was dead. I made a decision to stay open, not knowing that a light would shine so quickly on the new path, bringing with it a great feeling of relief. I didn’t know if I would get an answer at all, or if it did, when it would come… an hour, a day, a month?

The pain that this incident caused was my wake-up call. It was a gift and I recognize it as such.

I now believe even more in the concept that we do not heal ourselves. Healing happens when we metaphorically speaking, stop pouring salt in our wounds: stop blaming anyone, including ourselves, for the unhappiness in our lives. Stop looking to others to change toward us so we can be happy. Stop looking at anything outside of us for wholeness. We live in a field of Grace…it does the work if we let it.

I’m so grateful to be able to share this with you. If you are ever in a situation like I was, I hope that something here will help you to see a new way too. I wish you freedom and deep peace today.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)

 

 

 

 

little lessons with big results

 

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you can see this and some other work that I’ve done recently on my artwork page*

At a recent event, I overheard a woman basically telling another woman how she wasn’t seeing a situation “spiritually”. The woman talking was very intense and irritated as she tried to explain what she felt was superior wisdom…about being non-judgmental. At one point she waved her hands in the air and huffed, “Don’t you believe that each one of us is perfect in the eyes of God?” The other woman didn’t say a word, but she looked like she’d been hit with something, as she retreated further into herself. The “spiritual” woman didn’t seem to notice…but she did seem frustrated.

The talking woman clearly considered herself to be a wise, spiritual person and a teacher. So why couldn’t she see that in that moment, she was the one being judgmental? She was the one who didn’t seem to understand that she was acting more like a bully, and the woman whom she was trying to “help” looked like a victim.

I thought about this event all evening. It is easy to criticize the “talking woman” and yet, being honest with myself, I can see that I’ve been both of these women as well.

That night, as I fell asleep, I asked for clarity about what I had witnessed, and this is what came to me,

“You are a teacher. Teachers must learn the lessons set before them, and “embody” those lessons. You can tell the “spiritual teachers” or the ones meant to be teachers, by the way they respond to situations involving others. Before they “embody” the lessons themselves, they get very frustrated with people who do not understand. They try to correct them and they attract many of these people, not to teach them, but to teach themselves to step out of the dense reality of time and space and all of the situations, problems, and concerns that are a part of this denser plane. Once you are out of this mindset/reality, you no longer live in it and you are not bothered by people who still are. You see that they are where they are and yet you have no desire to correct/change this because you know it ‘isn’t yours’. Family members and old friends/acquaintances may slip away. This is as it should be. As long as you are trying to ‘pull others along’ you will be unable to embody the teachings…that old field is too dense. Let it go and let them be.”

This was so helpful to me. As much as I realize that all people are mirrors, I’d felt some confusion about the part of me that at times can still get frustrated with both my own spiritual progress and that of others. What this told me was that frustration is simply a sign that I am, in that moment, unaware of what/who I really am and that I’ve temporarily fallen asleep to my true essence, which is God.

If I look at frustration as just a little nudge to go back “home” …turn inside and realize that if I am seeing a problem, I am seeing through clouded eyes, I can be easier with myself. I can lighten up and know that all really is well. I can smile at frustration instead of becoming frustrated that I still become frustrated. I hope that you can smile at yourself today too…I am going to imagine that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of us doing that right now…I love that thought.

 “Your inner speech is perpetually written all around you in happenings. Learn to relate these happenings to your inner speech and you will become self-taught.” Neville Goddard, from Awakened Imagination

*https://wordpress.com/page/whitefeatherfarm.wordpress.com/11676

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I still have some skin balms available from the batch that I made several weeks ago. If you are interested in purchasing any, they are $8.95 each and you can contact me at mmuncil@verizon.net

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2016. 6 Comments

the golden string that leads us Home

About one month ago, I signed up for a 2 hour yoga class* which included a 40 minute “yoga nidra” at the end. I’d never heard of yoga nidra before so I assumed it would involve some special postures and I was looking forward to that, but as I sat in the class that evening, and the teacher explained that yoga nidra was like a meditation, I felt disappointed. I probably wouldn’t have signed up if I’d known that almost half the class time would be spent “doing nothing”…after all, I wanted to get my money’s worth.

I wasn’t about to leave the class, so I made a decision to be as open as I could and follow her lead.The yoga nidra began with all of the students lying down on our backs. We were instructed not to fall asleep, and not to move…I wondered how I’d manage to keep still for the entire time. At one point, I felt as though my hands were gone…very odd sensation but as I continued to give myself over to the experience, I relaxed. Then I heard the teacher say, “You may now begin to move your feet….”

I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t fallen asleep and yet the 40 minutes seemed like 10. I was stunned. I was also deeply relaxed. Wow, what a surprise.

Over the next few weeks, I looked for more classes in my area, but not finding any, I widened my search and happened upon a wonderful yoga nidra youtube video, led by Liam Gillen (https://youtu.be/XN1ngkASEbY). I didn’t know if it would feel as powerful if I wasn’t in a live class, but it did. I’ve been listening/doing this practice every night since and have found it to be so delightful that I wanted to share it with you.

I am so grateful that I didn’t have all of the information about the class before I signed up. I so often fall into the trap of believing that I know what is best for me, thinking that I need to know what is coming next (totally impossible anyway) before I do something.

It isn’t coincidental that one of the affirmations I’ve been saying lately is, “I am always in the right place at the right time.” It puts me in a more open state of mind…one where I can be more easily moved and led toward my true heart’s desire.

I love the Blake quote,

“I give you the end of a golden string. Only wind it into a ball, it will lead you to Heaven’s gate…”

*the wonderful yoga studio that I belong to is Align Again Yoga in Greenwich NY.

 

loving the mystery

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“HOME” a new mixed media piece of mine…the eggs are from a local family who raise chickens for the love of it. (it’s for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE)

 

Last Thursday, I drove by a house that almost took my breath away. I parked my car and walked down the old tree-lined street, from the house to downtown Burlington, imagining what it would be like to call this home.

I’ve been looking at houses around the area for several years, but none have come close to the appeal of this one. It is everything that I’ve been looking for; it’s large and old with several porches and fireplaces, a nice backyard, and, it’s only ten minutes from my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson’s home.

My emotions and mind were scrambling. It was thrilling to see something that looked like the fulfillment of a dream, but within minutes, my feelings plummeted into doubt and despair. There was no way that I could afford this house.

I knew that I had to change my thoughts, so I began to say, “I am always in the right place at the right time. If this is meant to be my home, it will happen, even if I have no idea how.” I felt much better, but still had to work on my mind which seemed to slip into the feeling of desperate longing for something that seemed out of reach.

This morning while I was on a walk, again thinking about this house, I heard myself say, “If I am ready this will happen” but those words felt discouraging. The subtle message in them was, “If I am good enough, If I’ve done enough work to deserve it, If I’ve grown spiritually enough to line up with this kind of abundance…” and of course, a part of me never thinks that I’m good enough, or that I’ve done enough, or ever will.

At that moment, I changed my mind. Not about wanting this home or moving, but my attitude about myself. I began to say, “If this is right for me, it will happen.” It was such an exhilarating feeling to go from, “Oh, I hope that I’m good enough. I hope that I am ready!”, with all that this implies about being “less than” and needed to elevate myself, to, “I am open and ready for the right home: one that matches my desire.” I was suddenly on equal footing with my dream, instead of seeing it as better than me.

There has to be harmony to this move. If I desperately struggle and try to force it, I will carry that energy with me.The energy that we use to accomplish our goals and dreams floats around the final manifestation/outcome like a bubble, attracting more of the same. If I struggle to get something/make something happen, I will struggle, or feel as though I need to struggle, to keep it …or get rid of it. Desperate energy repels what we want most, and most of us have gone after something like this at least once in our lives. I have many times.

When I was single, I couldn’t stand to be without a date, so I went out with guys whom I knew weren’t right for me. I didn’t want to be alone, and I feared no one else would come along, or if they did, they wouldn’t be interested in me, so I said yes when I should have said no, or I’d desperately chase a guy that I was sure was the one for me, only to have him run, quickly, away.

It took me a long time to learn about trusting the greater harmony of Life…and sometimes I still forget, especially when I really want something. But I love having the opportunity to look at it, and talk about it, right in the middle of it, and in this moment, I am at peace with the mystery. I actually feel excitement and adventure in the air, and it feels like what life should be…not something that is completely predictable, foreseeable, or known, but something that has elements of wonder and promise, punctuated with occasional surprises that leave us happily speechless.

Will I eventually buy this home? I don’t know. But I know that I am open and I know that whatever happens, it will be right, because I really am always in the right place at the right time.

“There is nothing to change bur out concept of self. Humanity is a single being in spite of its many forms and faces, and there is in it only such seeming separation as we find in our own being when we are dreaming. The pictures and circumstances we see in dreams are the creations of our own imagination and have no existence save in ourselves. The same is true of the pictures and circumstances we see in this dream of life. They reveal our concepts of ourselves. As soon as we succeed in transforming self, our world will dissolve and reshape itself in harmony with that which our change affirms.” From, The Search, by Neville Goddard

 

What will I do today?

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Eleanor snuggling with one of Luke’s toys

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White

 

For much of my life, I’d felt a deep urge to help others…but it never seemed like I was doing enough. I believed that life was a long, narrow, uphill, climb toward some place of perfection where I would finally be in my right place, doing my right work, at the right time; a place where I’d finally know who I was and why I was here. I struggled for years to get to this place, yet it always seemed out of reach. Rest was not an option on this path.

During these years of struggle, I was incredibly self-concerned, but I didn’t realize it. I thought that my striving was noble, not selfish. I assumed that harsh self-examination was the path to improvement…and god knows, I believed that I needed to be improved. But God didn’t “know” this. This wasn’t a Divine path. The constant thoughts of how I could be a better person, do more for the world, and become happier, were fueled by ego.

When I began to lighten up, which meant stopping critical thoughts about others and myself, I noticed that people around me changed and reflected this light back to me. I saw that I didn’t so much have to do something but I needed to stop doing/thinking the things that separated me from who I really was/am: Love.

I don’t mean to suggest that I never have a critical thought about myself, or other people, anymore. I have plenty of them, but I am much more aware of these thoughts as invitations to a fight; they are seductive; they call to me with feelings of anger, righteous indignation, resentment, and revenge. They tell me that I am better than other people. They tell me that I’ve been wronged. They tell me that there is a right and a wrong (I’m usually the right/virtuous one) and I must choose my side and fight for it, or banish the other one. They masquerade as strength, but in reality, if I believe them, I become their victim.

I’ve been declining a lot of these invitations lately and in their place, choosing to see what is right with a person (including myself), situation, event, or memory. Several days ago, I was thinking about one of the people currently running for president, and how easy, and almost fun, it is to blast this person. So, again, I noticed this and asked myself, “What is there to love about this person?” We are one. He/she is a part of my consciousness at some level. It wasn’t hard to answer the question, it only required giving up my desire to criticize and condemn.

So, what will I do today, save or savor the world? I think that I’ll just be myself. I will Love it/me/them/us and I will allow that Love to flow back to me.

 

The happier I become, the more I like you.

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Fred

I woke up this morning with the words, “All relationships exist only in your mind”, running through my mind. I’ve grown comfortable with the concept that people are constantly mirroring myself back to me, but this new thought/idea that the relationship (them and me) itself isn’t something fixed by the interplay of “us” but is mostly a self-constructed/imagined reality of my doing, is a new level of thought/experience for me.

Lately, I’ve seen evidence of this truth playing out in my life.

For as long as I could remember, I’d had a difficult/unpleasant relationship with one of my uncles. Even though I was polite when we saw each other (which was infrequent), I was critical of him both in my mind and to family members. Last year, I decided to change this. I began to imagine a group of friends holding hands and dancing in a circle, and I included him. I saw him laughing and hugging me when the dance was over. I played this scene over and over in my mind until it felt real.

Several months ago, an unfamiliar van pulled into my driveway. As the driver got out of the car, I could see that she was carrying a bouquet of flowers. I couldn’t imagine who was sending me flowers, for no special occasion…they were from my uncle. We hadn’t spoken in ages and he’d never sent me flowers before.

It didn’t take two to change our relationship. It didn’t take sitting down and hashing out past grievances. I was at peace with him, in my mind, before the flowers arrived.

For so many years, I failed to see that my own critical, judgmental, and unhappy thoughts about others were the very things holding those people in negative, fixed, states in their relationship to me. And truthfully, I was really hesitant to see anyone I was upset with, or felt hurt by, as happy, healthy, or doing well. As odd as this sounds, I didn’t think that they deserved my good thoughts. I didn’t realize that as long as I held them in an unhappy, fixed state of mind, I was also holding myself in that place too.

“Do not try to change people; they are only messengers telling you who you are. Revalue yourself and they will confirm the change.” Neville Goddard

 

 

unexpected happiness

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I recently came across the above photograph of my parents holding my sister Jayne and me (I’m the baby), and I was struck by two things: how happy my mother looked, and that I had never seen this picture before, yet it was in a family album. As I’ve been turning away from the negative past (in my mind), and consequently becoming happier, happier memories have been quite suddenly appearing in my life.

There was a time when I couldn’t think of one happy childhood memory, so I assumed that I didn’t have any (or many). To realize that they had simply been suppressed, by my dogged belief in an unhappy past, has been surprising, especially when I thought I’d pretty much made peace with my past and had done so much “work” around family issues…

What wonderful things are waiting to be revealed to us when we do nothing more than  stop telling/thinking the same old stories of unhappy pasts?

“All that you behold, tho’ it appears without, it is within, in your imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.” William Blake

AN OPENING   My plans for tomorrow have unexpectedly changed and so I have a free day. If you’d like to book a session with me, I’m offering 20 minute phone sessions for $20 (you can also schedule a longer time if you’d prefer). On the home page of my website, http://www.marymuncil.com there is a tab at the top that will open a page (Private Sessions) which explains the work that I do. If you can’t find this link, email me at mmuncil@verizon.net and I will send you the link.

 

This entry was posted on March 13, 2016. 4 Comments